Maryann Tobin

In the hotly competitive 2012 Ultrabook market, the MacBook Air and Asus Zenbook are both trying to entice customers with upgraded Ivy Bridge processors. The first of the new models are set to hit the market as early as June. Are they worth waiting for?

It can be a tough call for laptop buyers to decide if they should wait for Ivy Bridge, or pick up a bargain on a Sandy Bridge model. If it were just a matter of a processor upgrade the choice might be easier. But along with Ivy Bridge comes the new Intel 4000 graphics, and that just might make it worth the wait.

Benchmarks for the Intel 4000 graphics with new Ivy Bridge processors show an increase in performance that not only beats the previous generation, it also performed ahead of Nvidea GeForce GT 520 and AMD Radeon HD 5450 graphics.

If that were not enough to convince you that Ivy Bridge is a serious step forward, Ivy Bridge will take gamers to a new level with “a 5% to 15% increase in CPU performance for the Ivy Bridge Core i7 processors and a whopping 20% to 50% improvement on the graphics side,” according to PC World.

Both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are expected to hit Apple Stores in April with the new Ivy Bridge processors and integrated Intel 4000 graphics. The Asus Zenbook, which is hottest contender for the MacBook Air, is also expected to be release around the same time with similar internal architecture.

No doubt there will be bargains available for Sandy Bridge Ultrabooks when the new Ivy Bridge processors come out, at least in the Windows laptop market, since Apple tends to keep prices steady despite product upgrades. But if you are in the market for a PC and are willing to forgo sale prices on last year's Sandy Bridge models, the faster Ivy Bridge laptops with the new Intel 4000 graphics are definitely worth waiting for.